Turns out you didn't need it, Guy. Snatch is a film that stands perfectly on its own merits while it shoots bullet holes in everything in sight.
A more violent film you aren't likely to see this year (and yes, I realize it's only January). In the vein of Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, and Fight Club, Snatch is a gritty dance with the criminal element, revolving around a stolen 86-karat diamond that any good crook would give his right arm for. (And in one case, I mean that literally.)
After a boggling series of double-crosses, triple-crosses, and multi-crosses, Snatch becomes a game of who will end up with the gem -- and how will they get it? Ritchie keeps us guessing at every turn, with Russians hiring mercenary crooks to steal the jewel, hit men sent to kill the mercenaries, mobsters trying to outwit the hit men, Jewish jewelers scheming to undermine the mobsters, a crazed bare-knuckled boxer looking for his payday despite the chaos, and one dog who's lost his bark.
And every one of these stories is hilarious.
It's Ritchie's incredible, perfectly matched cast that makes the film work so well. It's hard to say who is best: Alan Ford's menacing Brick Top, who feeds his victims to his pigs when they cross him; Vinnie Jones (Gone in 60 Seconds) as Bullet Tooth Tony, a hunter/assassin who chills his prey with deadly stares; Benicio Del Toro's caught-in-the-middle robber/gambling addict; Dennis Farina's Anglophobe jeweler; or any of two dozen other apt actors who fully own their roles. In the end, though, you have to give a hand to Brad Pitt, still buff from Fight Club, as a mush-mouthed Gypsy boxer who always manages to get one step ahead of the crowd.
Cut these guys together with a zippy story (that doesn't always feel like it makes sense, but no matter) and a jazzy-techno soundtrack (plus Mrs. Ritchie's "Lucky Star"), and there's nothing to dislike here. Even Ritchie's over-aggressive filmmaking never gets that tiresome, though he runs through the entire pantheon of MTV camera tricks: slow motion, fast motion, stop motion, reverse motion, low angles, high angles, upside down camerawork, and more.
Of course, Snatch does not secretly harbor a touching tale of redemption, a theme of crooks who go straight, or any other sort of guts that might make us think differently about the world when we leave the movie theater. In fact, it's not really about anything. Unlike contemporaries like Pulp Fiction and Trainspotting, with their messages hidden away amongst all the action, Snatch is just a good time. That's not a bad thing, just don't try telling me that Snatch is deep.
Er, you know what I mean.
Pitt makes his play.
Run time: 15 mins
In Theaters: Friday 15th October 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $83.6M
Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation, SKA Films
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
IMDB: 8.1 / 10
Director: Guy Ritchie
Producer: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriter: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Jason Statham as Turkish, Brad Pitt as Mickey O'Neil, Stephen Graham as Tommy, Vinnie Jones as Bullet Tooth Tony, Alan Ford as Brick Top Polford, Dennis Farina as Abraham 'Cousin Avi' Denovitz, Rade Šerbedžija as Boris 'The Blade' Yurinov (as Rade Serbedgia), Robbie Gee as Vincent, Lennie James as Sol, Benicio del Toro as Franky Four Fingers, Mike Reid as Doug 'The Head' Denovitz, Jason Flemyng as Darren, Andy Beckwith as Errol, William Beck as Neil, Ewen Bremner as Mullet, Guy Ritchie as Man Reading Newspaper (uncredited), Adam Fogerty as Gorgeous George, Ade as Tyrone
Also starring: Rade Serbedzija, Jason Buckham, Mickey Cantwell, Nikki Collins, Teena Collins, Charles Cork, Sam Douglas, Goldie, Sid Hoare, Ronald Isaac, Jason Ninh Cao, Yuri Stepanov, Tony Tang, Matthew Vaughn
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